Broad Channel man pleads guilty in multimillion-dollar prize notice fraud scheme

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Broad Channel resident Scott Gammon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The 47-year-old Gammon became the third defendant to plead guilty in the $4 million fraud that involved a mass-mailing scheme that tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes. Gammon’s plea took place before Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke.

“The defendant admitted he deceived elderly and vulnerable victims into believing they had won cash prizes by inducing them to pay bogus ‘fees’ to him and his co-conspirators,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said. “This office will continue to protect our seniors and other consumers from harm caused by predatory solicitation schemes.”

According to court documents, from August 2014 through August 2019, Gammon engaged in a direct-mail scheme that sent fraudulent prize notification mailings to thousands of consumers. The mailings induced consumers to pay a fee, purportedly in return for a large cash prize. None of the consumers who paid the fee ever received such a prize.

“Fraudulent prize notices often trick elderly victims into sending away their money based on false promises of large cash prizes,” said Brian Boynton, principal deputy attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This guilty plea is the latest example of the Department of Justice continuing to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of these schemes.”

Two other defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for participating in the scam. Christopher King, 36, of Oceanside, Long Island, pleaded guilty last September, and Natasha King, 38, of Elmont, Long Island, pleaded guilty in December.

“Postal Inspectors remind consumers, if you have to pay to win a prize, you’ll lose your money,” U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector-in-Charge Daniel B. Brubaker said. “These are all scams designed to lure consumers into sending their hard-earned money, not for a prize, but to fatten the pockets of a fraudster. Mr. Gammon may have thought he got away with this scheme, but he was sadly mistaken when he was confronted by the full investigative power of law enforcement.”

Each of the three defendants faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.